Tag Archives: Tampa

Tokyo sun shower

4 Sep

Summer in Tokyo is very hot and humid.  There is a typhoon season and sometimes a sudden thunderstorm with heavy rain will start seemingly out of nowhere…and then stop just as suddenly with blue skies returning.

Japanese people are sometimes surprised if I tell them that summer in Florida (where I grew up) is very similar.

Summer in Florida is also hot and humid. There is a hurricane season (hurricanes, for all intents and purposes, are basically the same as typhoons) and sometimes sudden short thunderstorms occur there too.

In fact, the area in Florida where I lived, Tampa Bay, is called “the lightning capital of the world”.

When the weather is sunny and then a rainstorm suddenly starts…with the sunny weather returning just as suddenly, Floridians call that a sun shower.

So I also referred to the same phenomenon in Japan as a sun shower, as well.

But a few years ago, the Japanese media gave these storms an original Japanese name.  Here in Japan, these storms are called 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (“Guerrilla rainstorms“) because of the way they violently come out of nowhere.

Well, yesterday, there was a sudden, short, ゲリラ豪雨 (Guerrilla rainstorm)…and someone photographed it from the Tokyo Sky Tree tower.

The 「ゲリラ豪雨」 (guerrilla rainstorm) that hit the Tokyo area yesterday. It looks like a tornado!

Japan will bring bullet train to Florida?

23 Nov

Japan is well-known for it’s excellent public transportation system. Especially in big cities like Tokyo.
Japan’s trains, buses and subways are clean, safe, extremely punctual, convenient and affordable.

Even though the taxis here aren’t really affordable (a taxi ride in Japan is pricey), they’re also clean, safe and convenient.

You may also know that Japan has an excellent 「新幹線」 (“Bullet train” (or “Shinkansen” in Japanese)) system.

"Shinkansen" (Bullet train) passing Mt. Fuji.

Japan’s 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system is the world’s busiest and fastest bullet-train service.
The speed record was set a few years ago when the 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) reached a speed of over 580 km/hr on a test-run. With passengers though, the trains travel up to about 300 km/hr.

When U.S. President Obama announced that America would begin building and using bullet-trains systems in various parts of America with the first one scheduled to connect Tampa, Florida (my hometown) to Orlando and Miami, Florida many bullet-train companies around the world began bidding for the contract to build Florida’s first high-speed train service.

Map of Florida showing the planned bullet-train routes.

Companies in Canada, Germany and France are competing with Japan for the contract.

But it seems that Japan’s JR Tokai company has a good chance of winning the bid.

If Japan wins the bid then Florida will have a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) system like Japan’s.

 

One of JR Tokai's 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) trains.

I wonder if America will be able to maintain the punctuality, safety and convenience of Japan’s train systems.

Have you ever ridden a 「新幹線」 (Bullet train) in Japan? Or any of Japan’s trains or subways?
Have you taken public transportation in other countries?
What are your impressions?

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By the way, today is a national holiday in Japan…「勤労感謝の日」 (“Labor Day”). (Click here to read my short “F.A.Q.” about it.)

October weather

10 Oct

Every year in October and April, when the seasons are changing, the temperature fluctuates a lot and it rains often.

Tomorrow (Monday) is a holiday in Japan. It’s 「体育の日」 (“Sports Day“). So it’s currently a three-day weekend here.
Yesterday (Saturday), the weather was very cool (high temperature was 19°C) and rainy in Tokyo. Today it was raining in the morning but has stopped raining and it’s cloudy now and warmer (about 23°C).
Tomorrow is forecast to be warm (high temp: 26°C) and sunny.

Next week’s weather in Tokyo is forecast to be sunny most days but rain again next weekend…and the temperature will go up and down.
This fluctuating temperature in early Spring and Autumn is called 「三寒四温」 (“Three days cold, four days warm”) in Japanese.

 

Tokyo's weather forecast for 2010 Oct 10 - 17. (Click to enlarge)

I was looking at tenki.jp, a Japanese weather website, to get Tokyo’s weather forecast, and I noticed that it’s possible to compare Japan’s weather to any other city in the world using that website.
So I decided to see how Tokyo’s weather compares to Tampa Bay, Florida (where I grew up).
It’s still quite warm in Florida, it seems. Yesterday, for example, was 19°C in Tokyo…but in Tampa, Florida it was 29°C…very warm.

Last week's weather...Tampa, FL (the blue line) vs Tokyo, Japan (the orange line)

How is the weather where you live?

(By the way, did you notice that today’s date is: ’10-10-10?)

新幹線 in Florida?

29 Apr

I grew up in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I left there two decades ago…but it’s still where I grew up.

So I was interested when I heard a story on the TV news recently that involved both Tampa, Florida and Japan.

The news said that Florida plans to build a 新幹線 (bullet train) line from Tampa to Orlando and continue on to Miami.

When I lived in Florida, there was no public transportation system to speak of…and definitely no train—especially a bullet train!

Many countries, including Japan, are putting bids in to build this new train line for Florida.

The trains in Japan are spotless, safe, and extremely punctual. But I wonder if it’ll be the same situation in America, even if Japan builds the bullet train system for them…because a big factor in Japan’s excellent public transportation system is not only the technology but also Japan’s culture itself.

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Until yesterday, Japan had a fifteen year 時効 (Statute of Limitations) for murder.
That meant that if someone killed another person in Japan and the police couldn’t catch them with that time limit they would be free of any chance of prosecution for that crime from then on.

But a new law was passed yesterday that completely abolished the Statute of Limitations for murder…and it’s retroactive. So there is now no Statute of Limitations for any murder committed on 1995 April 28 or later.

Actually, this bill was rushed through the Japanese Senate in order to be passed yesterday because there is an unsolved murder case that occurred on that exact date of 1995 April 28…so if this bill wasn’t passed into law yesterday, whoever it was that stabbed an elderly couple to death in their home and then burned their house down (apparently in an effort to cover their crime) would be free from any possibility of being punished for that heinous crime.
But now there is no longer a time limit for the police to catch murderers in Japan.

(Thankfully though, the violent crime rate in Japan is extremely low.)

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